I wrote this to a couple of my buddies last night, so I apologize if it sounds like a crazy person on no sleep, yet juiced to the brim on redbull!;)
A small portion…say 1 in 15 dogs were in fairly poor shape. They'd announce, "this one doesn't have many teeth". "This one has a large cyst on its face, but it's hard and doesn't appear to bother it." "This one's missing a large portion of it's tail, and ear but is a proven breeder folks!" When they have a dog that's missing alot of teeth, or a substantial portion of its lower jaw, it's tongue hangs down out of its mouth. They lovingly refer to these as "stamp lickers". It looks like they might breed them despite it being a genetic defect. Genetic defects don't seem to hold a lot of importance. They want dogs that come into season twice a year, and make a lot of puppies. They were nearly all AKC registered.
We waited all day for them to auction our breed, and when they did, they announced that no puppies would be sold. My heart sank. They had over 75 listed to be w/ the moms. I approached the auctioneer, and told him abruptly that we came to buy pups--He had them listed, we'd driven a long way, and we wanted the puppies. They weren't old enough to sell without moms, but apparantly you can sell the moms, and then sell the pups in a couple of weeks when they're old enough. It's B.S., but I don't think illegal.
We ended up buying one of the first three females that were on the block. The other two were going for over 300 bones. Waaay too much. I was sick. Then the auctioneer announced that he'd sell 3 litters w/ moms. We bought 2 of the litters. We ended up with 13 pups with 4 bitches, and one male. The other litter was a litter of one, and the mom didn't look like she'd make a good pet, so we didn't bid her very high.
Alot of other rescuers were there also, and tens of thousands of dollars were spent by them. I don't know if I agree with that or not, but like I said earlier: The mill was closing its doors. I don't know if we made a huge difference, but I can say we made a difference. We were bidding against a few other people, but only one other breeder bought them, and we both were driving the bids high. He is a puppy miller, but said that all of his pups were raised indoors around children. He also said that if he ever had a bitch that was having any trouble at all whelping, he'd get her a c-section stat! He seemed like a nice man.
The conditions were clean, but cramped. Nearly all of the dogs had to walk on wire grates all there lives, and their feet were all kind of…splayed?...I think that's the word. Some were "circlers"(just pace circles all the time). We stayed away from all of those.
Overall, these dogs are livestock. Nothing more, nothing less. No different than cattle. I don't agree with it, but I did develop somewhat of an understanding of it. It's very typical of south, and southwestern missouri for people to raise multiple litters of dogs. You were just as likely bidding against some dr's son, as the amish folk. They didn't have the dislike of rescuers that I was expecting, or at least they didn't show it often. There was a very strict "no cameras allowed" policy. Since I was bidding, I couldn't take the risk of being booted for snapping photos. The auctioneers were friendly, and emphasized the point that rescuers, and breeders needed to get along, because neither were going anywhere anytime soon. He was probably right. You don't have to like it, but it does make it easier on everybody if you attempt to be amiable. I did get a good chuckle at this one gruff older lady that was a rescuer also. I introduced myself at the end of the auction, and she said very matter of factly "Good, I'm glad we got some more of these dogs out of the hands of these f-ing whackos!!!" People heard her, and it was slightly entertaining.
I'm sure you all know this, but please emphasize it to your friends: Don't ever let anyone you know buy from a pet store. All of the puppies sold from the mills are sold to "brokers". Brokers transport them to pet stores. As long as people buy from pet stores, these places will exist. Furthermore, you have no guarantee of the quality of the breeding, even if it is "registered". I believe that most of our basenjis have fanconi in their lineage.
The pups are soooo cute, and tiny. It is Brat's utmost concern to keep them until they are appropriately socialized with their littermates, and then get them to their forever homes while they're still small pups.
Right now we have 20 dogs in our home including the pups. About 5-7 are mournfully howling.:D
Fosters? Someone? Anyone?
p.s. they're all howling now